Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults

My oldest daughter sent me a link to an article she saw on (let’s not even talk about the fact that in a million years I wouldn’t imagine my daughter on on a regular basis) entitled “Tackling Motherhood…and ADHD”. Click on above if you would like to read this article.

Amanda was diagnosed as borderline ADD when she was 8. Thirteen years ago I felt like it was being over-diagnosed. I didn’t want my child labeled as ‘different’. I chose to not medicate her.

While she had been an excellent student in her first few grades of school, her middle and high-school years were mediocre. I chalked her middle-school years up to the adjustment from a small private school to a large public one. I chalked her mediocre high school grades up to the extremely rigorous volunteer program she was in that required as much as 40 hours of volunteer work a week.

When she started college she called me to ask if she could get tested for ADD. She went through rigorous testing and when the results were in she was told “Your ADD is so bad it’s an absolute miracle you graduated high school.” She went on medication and is now getting terrific grades in a highly competitive nursing school.

I, as her mother, have to live with that. Was I wrong to not medicate her? I guess I probably was.

When she finished her testing she said “Mom, you have ADD too.”

I knew this. When I was a kid though ADD didn’t exist. At least I’d certainly never heard of it. You just learned to cope with it the best you could. But as I saw Amanda’s grades go from mediocre to amazing, I began to wonder if I should be on medication. At my next physical I spoke to my doctor about it. He didn’t doubt that I had ADD, he just asked if I “really wanted to be another medication at my age.” I said I would think about it. First of all, I was only on one medication – a low dose of depression medication that I’d been on for the past 8 years. My husband takes a handful of pills every morning. I haven’t had a drink in over 7 years. I don’t know what he meant by “at my age”, but I am only 48 years old! I live a pretty healthy life. But I did think about it.

When I got to a dark place where I had gained 30 pounds in 2 years, was miserable, and literally was turning circles and getting nothing done every day I decided to do something about it. I did what Amanda first did; I went on-line and looked up a test you can take that will generally diagnose if you have ADD or not. I literally could not sit still or think clearly long enough to finish the questionnaire over the course of an entire day!

I decided to try the medication. I felt a little stupid going on it. I felt like I was taking “kid” medication. I felt like I was doing something wrong.

Well, let me tell you, it has changed my life. I am happier and more productive than I have been in a very long time – maybe ever. I can start projects and actually finish them. I can accomplish more in a day than I ever was able to.

Does it mean my life is perfect? Absolutely not. Does it mean my house is clean and organized? Absolutely not. Does it mean I don’t forget what I was walking over to write down? no. But I can sure notice the difference. I’m completely off depression medication. I’ve lost 25 pounds. I think more clearly. I get more done. I’m happy.

And for all of those reasons I am no longer embarrassed to say that I have ADD.